Passenger growth continues at BNE in 2014

Brisbane Airport (BNE) has recorded the fastest rate of growth in international passengers since 2005, with more than 4.92 million international travellers in 2014, equating to an increase of 5.5 per cent (or an additional 256,000 passengers) on 2013 figures.

Domestic passenger figures also increased modestly by 1 per cent to 17.08 million, or 173,000 more travellers than the previous year. Combined, total passenger numbers through BNE in 2014 grew by 1.9 per cent to more than 22 million.

Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, said that overall 2014 was an exceptional year for the airport, defined by a number of key milestones, launches, events and developments.

“2014 was an extremely busy year at Brisbane Airport on all fronts, notably 18 international airlines increased frequency of services to/from Brisbane or up gauged aircraft on popular routes during the year and the establishment of a Tigerair base at BNE was very positive news for travellers.

“Major events hosted in Brisbane, Queensland and abroad including the G20, Australian Tourism Exchange in Cairns, FIFA World Cup in Rio and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow all contributed to increased passengers through BNE,” Ms Alroe said.

“While business as usual continued at the terminals we significantly ramped up our infrastructure program in 2014 with our commitment to invest more than $3.5 billion over the next decade building critical infrastructure and upgrading current facilities.

“Everywhere you look there are upgrades happening at Brisbane Airport including new aprons, cycle and pedestrian access improvements and our New Parallel Runway, which is now fully surcharged and being stabilised ready for the next phase of construction.

“The $45 million redevelopment of the International Terminal is also rapidly nearing completion and the $10 million upgrade of the Common User check-in at the Domestic Terminal continues, among some 50 other projects currently being delivered,” she said.

“We look forward to an equally busy 2015 and working with our airline, industry and business partners in attracting more flights to the city so we can continue to grow Brisbane and Queensland’s profile as a major gateway to Australia and an exciting and progressive city and state,” Ms Alroe said.

The overall 5.5 per cent growth in international traveller numbers in 2014 was greater than previous years including 2013’s growth of 4.8 per cent.

The busiest day on record for international travel in 2014 was on 20 December with 18,846 arrivals and departures, exceeding the 2013 record by 1,286.

Average weekly flight frequency was up 7.7 per cent year-on-year from 560 to 603, with an additional 353,100 seats on offer in 2014 compared to 2013, equating to an increase of 5.2 per cent.

Double digit growth was experienced in visitor markets such as China (11.9 per cent), USA (10.5 per cent), India (11.9 per cent), Taiwan (13.9 per cent), Hong Kong (14.4 per cent), Japan (28.4 per cent) and Indonesia (19.8 per cent).

The availability of additional seat capacity was one of the reasons for international passenger growth with greater passenger choice and value resulting.The capacity growth trend is set to continue in 2015 with notable recent announcements including the launch of direct services between Abu Dhabi and BNE in June 2015 and between BNE and Tokyo in August 2015.

Ms Alroe commended the continued dedication by the BAC team and local partners to attracting new carriers and boosting capacity to connect Brisbane to the world.

“We are always looking for new opportunities for Brisbane Airport and striving to forge strong partnerships with airlines and tourism groups to expand our network and make our airport one of the world’s most connected,” Ms Alroe said.

Overall demand for domestic travel was modest throughout 2014 however records were broken in October when 1.57 million passengers passed through the Domestic Terminal, an increase of 24,900 on the prior record set in October 2013.  

Weekly flights increased from approx. 3,200 to 3,260, with an additional 176,000 seats on offer to travellers throughout the year. Total domestic seat capacity increased by 0.8 per cent (+ 176,000 seats) compared to 1.4 million seats added in 2013, which improved load factors and yields for the two main domestic carriers.  

The busiest day was on Thursday 17 April (the day prior to the Easter long weekend) with a record 62,842 arrivals and departures through the Domestic Terminal.  Ms Alroe said similar domestic growth to 2014 is anticipated in 2015.  “The airlines are reaching equilibrium with demand and seat capacity and I expect they will continue to focus on load factors and yield while keeping a close eye on demand and tweaking schedules and services as required throughout the year,” Ms Alroe said.